As of this writing, it’s not clear that there will be a 2020 Major League Baseball season due to the primary concerns of health protocols and salary structure for the players.
But going off what has been proposed – a regular season of around 80 games, a regional approach, and up to 14 playoff teams – there are several teams that will come into this unique season with an advantage that they wouldn’t have otherwise had under the traditional 162-game approach.
Consider these four scenarios before placing any MLB futures on division, league, or World Series winners!
- Cleveland Indians
Going into 2020, most experts believed that the Indians’ window at a World Series title – which came frustratingly close to occurring in 2016 – was just about closed.
The Minnesota Twins rose in 2019, the White Sox improved, it wasn’t clear if Francisco Lindor would be traded, and there were health concerns surrounding pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger.
Now, Lindor likely won’t be dealt with such a short season, Clevinger and Carrasco should be healthy for a July start to the season, and the additional wild cards mean that even if the Twins have a repeat of their historic offensive performance from a season ago, there are more opportunities for the Tribe to get into the postseason (remember, Cleveland fell short in 2019 despite winning 93 games).
The Indians are a worthy consideration for a MLB futures wager.
- New York Yankees
The Yankees entered spring training as co-favorites in the American League with the Houston Astros, based on their young, powerful offense and acquisition of free-agent pitcher Gerrit Cole, who had a dominating season for the Astros in 2019. Then, in spring training, the injury bug hit the Yankees hard.
Giancarlo Stanton wasn’t likely to be ready for the original Opening Day, Aaron Judge had a stress fracture in his rib that surgery was a possibility for, centerfielder Aaron Hicks was expected to miss the first half of the season while recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Starter James Paxton was also slated for a June return from a February surgery. The long delay gives the Yankees a chance to heal up and be at full strength in July. The Yankess are a solid choice for one of your MLB futures bets in 2020.
- Washington Nationals
The defending World Series champions get a longer-than-expected break after not finishing their season until late-October, and the additional wild cards in each league give the Nats a greater chance of making the playoffs in a deep division.
A division that includes last year’s National League East champ Atlanta, former star Bryce Harper’s Philadelphia Phillies, and the New York Mets, who have a solid core of young hitters and two-time defending NL Cy Young winner Jacob DeGrom. Washington’s top three starters (Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and Patrick Corbin) and young offensive stars Juan Soto, Trea Turner, Wilmer Difo, and Victor Robles all return, with the only major departure being infielder Anthony Rendon.
- Baltimore Orioles & Miami Marlins
Unlike the other three teams on this list, the revised 2020 season isn’t expected to help Baltimore and Miami, two teams expected to struggle under any format this year, but it can be good news for you as a bettor.
Once the schedule is firmed up, take a look at team win totals, and strongly consider bets on the under on these two teams.
With an expected regional approach, with the exception of playing each other, these teams’ schedules will be filled with the following opponents: both New York teams, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, and Toronto.
In other words, all teams expected to do fairly well this season (four playoff teams from a year ago and all but the Blue Jays finished with a record of .500 or above). It’s tough to envision that either team will be favored all that often against those eight clubs.
Consider making Baltimore and/or Miami long-shot MLB futures wagers in 2020.